Tales from Sicily

My friend Maria Cristina Castellucci is a journalist and travel writer. She writes about her native Sicily and I am going to be sharing some of her articles in the coming weeks. This first article is about the fascinating history of the city of Palermo and in particular the history of the exotic and opulent Palazzina Cinese (The Chinese Villa). The Palazzina Cinese was built for Ferdinando di Borbone (King of Naples) and his wife Maria Carolina. The royal couple were forced to flee Naples, under the protection of the British Navy, as the Napoleonic wars raged. Their saviour was none other than Lord Nelson, Admiral of the Fleet who conveyed his royal passengers from Naples to Palermo in 1798.

Ferdinand and Maria Carolina settled in Palermo and construction of the Palazzina Cinese began in 1799. 

I’ll hand you over to the capable Maria Cristina now – to continue the story. Even if you don’t read Italian the photos and paintings are fabulous. It’s also a great way to improve and extend your Italian vocabulary. The Palazzina Cinese, Palermo, Sicily

Sicilia - Palazzina Cinese, Palermo - photo Maria Cristina Castellucci
Sicilia – Palazzina Cinese, Palermo – photo Maria Cristina Castellucci


  • You can discover more of Maria Cristina’s articles at: Sicily Stories and more
  • In 2023 I’ll be leading a small group tour to Sicily – probably in June, we’ll visit Palazzina Cinese and chat with Maria Cristina. Why not join us.
  • Our tour itinerary from last year (2021) is here: The Treasures of Sicily
  • I’ve also written about the colours and history of Sicily here: Sicily – La Sicilia Mediterranean jewel
  • Palermo is a fascinating city – historic, dynamic and compelling. Strongly recommended.
  • Contact me directly for more information about 2023 tours.
Sala Ruggero – Palazzo Normanni, Palermo – photo: Maria Cristina Castellucci – incredible mosaic detail


28th June, 2022

2 thoughts on “Tales from Sicily

  1. Hi,
    I would like to learn more about your Sicilian tours. My family has roots in Partanna, Tripani. They came to America in 1906 from Sicily.

    Hi Paul – would love to help – best thing is to e-mail me: janet@grand-tourist.com
    Trapani is delightful – could easily include x

    Liked by 1 person

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